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Loss of Hampton doomed Navy

Brian Hampton (AP Photo/Bob Child)

Trying to explain how much losing Brian Hampton hurt Navy on Saturday brought me to a passage from John Feinstein's book "The Last Amateurs." Then-Navy basketball coach Don DeVoe delayed announcing a captain in 1998-99 because his three seniors had violated a team rule, I believe regarding drinking (they had been caught celebrating the 21st birthday of one of the players).

Feinstein wrote that not having a captain right away hurt DeVoe, because at the Naval Academy, it is of the utmost important that everyone know who is "The Man;" that everyone know who is the leader and whose example to follow. Well, even though he wasn't a captain, my guess is Brian Hampton had become "the man" on the football team this year. It was impossible to ignore his courage when...

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